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Security researchers have encountered what's reckoned to be the first spyware menace to target users of mobile phones running the Symbian operating system.

The malware - Mobispy-A - is based on commercial call and SMS recording software and was found bundled in a version of MultiDropper, a mobile phone malware compilation package. If installed, Mobispy-A records incoming and outgoing SMS messages as well as call logs for dialed and received calls. The malware sends this data to an account on a server. However only the purchaser of the commercial software on which Mobispy-A is based has access to this account, which is in any case limited to monitoring call records of one phone.

Jimmy Shah, a mobile anti-virus researcher at McAfee, writes that the significance of the malware is not in the negligible danger it poses but in what it suggests about a possible shift in mobile malware authors' goals from "destroying data and information" to stealing it for profit. ®

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